Assembly urges Mayor to stop stalling on air pollution

03 June 2015

The London Assembly today passed a motion which calls on the Mayor to take additional steps to shorten the time it takes for London to achieve legal air quality standards and investigate potential policies that could be brought in before the launch of the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) in 2020.

The motion notes that large sections of the Capital continue to exceed both the annual and hourly legal limits for nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and are currently projected to continue doing so until after 2030. Stephen Knight AM, who proposed the motion said:

“The growing body of evidence that diesel is the primary contribution to London’s appalling air pollution cannot be ignored. Nor is it acceptable to wait until 2020 until action is taken, as the Mayor suggests. To help tackle the problem every tool in the public policy toolbox needs to be used and one option that could be investigated is adapting the congestion charge to add a modest levy on all diesel vehicles entering central London from 2016. Such a policy would help influence purchasing and driving behaviour far sooner than currently planned by existing polices, so leading to a real improvement in the health and quality of life for Londoners.”

 

The full text of the motion is:

“This Assembly welcomes the recent unanimous judgement from the Supreme Court ordering the government to submit new air quality plans to the European Commission no later than 31 December 2015.

This Assembly notes that large sections of the Capital continue to exceed both the annual mean and hourly legal limits for nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and are currently projected to continue doing so until after 2030, over twenty years after the original compliance date.

This Assembly further notes that the Mayor has a duty – under the Greater London Authority Act (1999) – to bring forward policies and proposals to support the achievement of legal air quality standards in London.

This Assembly believes that further measures are needed urgently if London is to achieve compliance with health-based, legal limits and avoid the prospect of substantial fines being passed down to the Greater London Authority (GLA) under the terms of the Localism Act (2011).

This Assembly therefore calls on the Mayor of London to take additional steps to ensure that the period of exceedance of air quality limits in London is kept as short as possible, and investigate potential policies that could be enacted in advance of the launch of the ULEZ. Such policies should enable Transport for London (TfL) to influence purchasing and driving behaviour far sooner than currently planned while delivering a measurable benefit to the health and quality of life of Londoners.”

 

Notes to editors:

The motion was agreed 11 votes for to 4 against.

The full webcast is available here.

Stephen Knight AM who proposed the motion is available for interviews. Please see contact details below.

As well as investigating issues that matter to Londoners, the London Assembly acts as a check and a balance on the Mayor.

For media enquiries, please contact Mary Dolan on 020 7983 4603. For out of hours media enquiries, call 020 7983 4000 and ask for the London Assembly duty press officer. Non-media enquiries should be directed to the Public Liaison Unit on 020 7983 4100.